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Twenty-somethings: Want to be CEO? This is how you should prepare..

Source | LinkedIn : By Steve Tappin

“If you want to be a CEO, then you must focus on being a great leader”.

Richard Baker, former CEO Alliance Boots

 With a sneak peak into our book, The Secrets of CEOs, here are 10 top tips from visionary CEOs on how to start your quest to becoming a CEO if you’re in your 20s.

The majority of CEOs that we spoke to only got a sense of their career mission in their late 20s or 30s, but if you’re in your early 20s and you already have an idea, you’re ahead of the game in terms of what you can do to prepare to be a great CEO.

Most CEOs we talked to thought that traditional career planning is outdated and it’s better to think of your career as divided into broad phases of leadership development. We look into what these phases are and what you should be aware of when preparing to lead.

1. Building the right foundations

To become a CEO for tomorrow, you will need a very broad range of experiences.

 “The first few years of a career have to be about investing to understand. Be an apprentice, get your hands dirty and take risks…it’s about getting loads of experience”. Lord Browne, former CEO BP

 Damian Reece, head of business at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, observes:

“The younger generation of CEOs are less conservative, probably because they have been schooled in an internet decade and are naturally, therefore, more ambitious, confident, commercial, aggressive, and ‘can do’. Build a career: ignore conventional advice, take more risk at an earlier age and aim to be a great leader”.

 “The question is: ‘What do you like’? Try a lot of things and figure out what you like during your early life and career…You need to discover whether you have got leadership qualities or not and you can only discover that through experience…It can’t be taught and you don’t know until you’ve tried to lead”. Eric Daniels, former CEO Lloyds


2. Have a medium-term goal but try not to overplan


If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to 20 somethings now it would be, don’t worry about the state of the job market. Don’t feel pressured to spend hours filling in hundreds of job applications for a prestigious or supposedly ‘safe’ professional career track or graduate training scheme. What was safe yesterday may not be what will sustain a career tomorrow, and there will be plenty of time for all of that later.

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